Vote buying characterises Ekiti governorship poll

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*Voters queuing to cast ballot. Photo credit: Leadership Newspaper

As voters in Ekiti State wait for the announcement of results of the governorship election held in the state on Saturday, the police have arrested many party agents in Ado Ekiti for vote buying.

It was gathered that the money-for-vote game began on the eve of the election with voters besieging the offices of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) to collect between N2, 000 and N5, 000, depending on the bargaining power of each voter.

Vanguard reports that no fewer than five were apprehended in the state capital while distributing money voters during the governorship election.

They were immediately taken away from the voting centre in front of Jonathan memorial School, Ajilosun area of the state capital.

At Polling Unit 012, Igbemo Ward of Irepodun-Ifelodun area council, an agent of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) reacted to financial inducement by an agent of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the unit.

Premium Times reports that Adetunji Ojo, one of the two PDP party agents at the polling unit, admitted his party also paid potential voters.

He said the APC out-muscled his party financially and there is nothing he can do about it.

An APC party agent, Mr. Bello Dauda, was caught on video sharing N5, 000 to voters.

Ojo earlier challenged Dauda for openly campaigning for APC.

Confronted with questions on inducement, he said the APC were able to come out top in the vote-for-money game because they offer more than his party.

“There is nothing we can do,” he said “We have left them with their destiny. That they (APC) win this PU does not mean they will the election

“Because PDP’s tip is 3000, and it was shared yesterday; while APC’s is 5000 that is why you see what is happening.

He said some of those who collected money from APC voted for PDP.

“I didn’t vote for APC. I’ll be mad to do so. I’m the second party agent. That’s the first party agent,” he said pointing to another agent who declined to speak.

“In fact, some of those who collected APC money voted PDP so it is not an issue. It is a matter of who is smart.”

Meanwhile, two governorship candidates of Mega Party, Mr. Bisi Omoyeni and Accord Party, Abiodun Aluko raised alarm of vote-buying by political parties.

Omoyeni alleged that some political parties had been buying votes by giving money to voters openly.

However, he expressed confident of winning because “I am the best of all the candidates.”

“My expectation is that I will win this election despite vote-buying. Ekiti people do not want those ones, they know them and they know I am the best.

“I learnt people have been distributing money to buy votes. INEC should not allow this, security agents should not allow this,” he said.

Aluko also alleged that the APC openly distributing N5, 000 cash to voters to influence them to vote for their candidate.

“While APC leaders were paying N5, 000 per vote, the PDP leaders were paying N4, 000 apart from the N3, 000 they paid to the accounts of civil servants and pensioners.

“What we are doing is not an election. It is money competition. The PDP started it by paying N3, 000 to accounts of civil servants and pensioners. I am a pensioner and I received an alert of N3, 000 to vote for PDP.

“I called the pension office that is my pension now N3, 000? They told me that it was mobilisation to vote for PDP candidate and that we would meet on the field for the balance.

“All okada unions have been given millions of naira to buy the votes of their members. On the surface, you will observe that there is no fighting but the absence of violence does not mean that there is peace.

“Security agents turned blind eyes to the distribution of money which was done openly. This is so because there is so much poverty in the land and many believe that today is the only day they can get something from the government that has not done anything for them,” he said.

The election, which is conducted at 2,195 polling units across the state, is contested by 32 political parties with Prof. Olusola Eleka of the PDP and Dr, Kayode Fayemi, APC as the major contenders.

Earlier during voting, the card reader had rejected Eleka’s permanent voter’s card but he finally cast his ballot at 11.15am following the intervention of the national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Anthonia Taiye.

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